This rail-to-trail runs through and very near a lot of private property, despite the actual trail being public property. You'll pass several signs designating it. Be respectful and stay on the well-marked trail.
The Crown Zellerbach Trail is a somewhat rough path, starting in Scappoose at the Multnomah Channel of the Columbia River before climbing up into the nearby Coastal Range. In the easternmost "lower" sections, the path is a patchwork of smooth and broken pavement. As the trail winds deeper into the forested hills, the pockets of pavement become more rough and destroyed, before the asphalt disappears entirely, and the path becomes entirely gravel. In the westernmost sections, the trail is a classic doubletrack, gravel logging road.
There's not much of an official trailhead. The trail starts unceremoniously at the Multnomah Channel without even an official parking lot. There are some pull-overs and short, foot trails to the start of the trail. A little over two miles in, the path crosses Highway 30. Here, there appears to be something resembling a trailhead, with a sign and a gravel lot. But there are No Parking signs and a sign designating parking is two miles up the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway.
This first official parking lot seems to have been converted into a gravel dump spot for the transportation department, so you'll want to park off to the side and out of the way if you park here.
For several miles, the trail runs along the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway very closely. For much of this, the trail flutters in and out of being open to vehicle traffic as access to people's driveways and the like, and then returning to closed-off-to-traffic, designated multi-use path.
Eventually, the trail breaks away from the highway and runs through more wild forests. The westernmost section starts in a long, steeper climb as the route shifts from the original railroad bed into the logging truck road made in the forties.
At the top of this climb, the route reconnects with the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway. A small gravel parking lot provides trail access. The path continues under a bridge and becomes the Columbia Forest Road at this point, leading to Vernonia.
Shared By: Kristen Arendt